The digital rhetorics of AIDS denialist networked publics

  • Miles C. Coleman Rowan University
  • Joy M. Cypher Rowan University
Keywords: conspiracy, science denial, digital rhetoric, network analysis, AIDS, HIV

Abstract

AIDS denialist publics congregate online, circulating discourses that dissent from mainstream health science, encouraging behaviors that cause unnecessary exposures and premature death. We offer “networked public analysis” as a means to leverage computational research methods to discover the texts that are important to networked publics. From a close reading of the core texts of an AIDS denialist networked public, we illustrate digital rhetorics characterized by empowering interactivity, offering control and stability to persons experiencing the existential suffering that can attend HIV+ diagnosis. We underscore the necessity of communication researchers, health care providers, scientists, and public health officials to consider the existential situations of AIDS denialist publics, which entangle denials of AIDS science with legitimate social anxieties.

Published
2020-09-25
How to Cite
Coleman, M. C., & Cypher, J. M. (2020). The digital rhetorics of AIDS denialist networked publics. First Monday, 25(10). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v25i10.10273